Bohemia Village Voice  Bohemia Village Voice

For bohemians everywhere

Calling the Police – “I can’t afford it” says St. Peter’s Road woman

When early-morning dog walker Mel Fisher of St Peter’s Road, saw three teenagers acting suspiciously her first thought was ‘Can I afford to call the police?’

Mel had her mobile phone with her when she saw the young boys trying car door handles. She thought the police might consider her call ‘non-urgent’ and decided not to use the free ‘999’ number. “When I’ve called the non-urgent police number (0845 60 70 999), the call goes through to Lewes where they take all your details, then you have to wait to be connected to Hastings, only to have to give all your details again.

I only charge my mobile with £5 at a time and I can use a big part of that on one call to the police”, says Mel. “I decided I couldn’t afford to phone. I also decided not to go to the police station as by the time I got there the lads would have been well away”.

Mel wrote to the chief constable of Sussex Police at Lewes and was told that in connexion with the incident she witnessed, “it would have been appropriate to dial 999”.  She also learned that Sussex Police handle 2 million calls per year, including 999 calls and non-emergency calls. Mel was told “An emergency is an incident which requires immediate action by the police. This includes the presence of suspects at, or near, the scene of a crime”.

Six ways to contact Sussex Police

Emergency     999.
Non-emergency     0845 60 70 999.
Text message     07786 208090.
Fax         01273 404274.
Email        contact.centre@sussex.pnn.police.uk
Confidential line    0800 555 111.

COMMENTS

Bob Hart writes (Jul 2009)

Dear Sir, I note the item “I can’t afford to call the police” [Village Voice, May 2009] and sympathise with anyone who does not want to call a Special Service number like 0845 in order to contact the police, especially from a mobile telephone.

The excellent website www.saynoto0870.com does offer a way of finding out the geographic alternative to 0845 and in the case of Sussex Police the number 0845 60 70 999 is actually 01273 475 432; that will put you through to the non-emergency switchboard at normal landline rates and mobile phone users won’t be penalised by excessive 0845 charges.

Bob Hart, 86 Lower Park Road.

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